Are legal complaints of altered waterfront views a valid reason to halt already approved offshore wind farms?

THE PRESERVATION SOCIETY of Newport County and the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation want the federal government to reconsider its approvals of two wind farms off the coast of Rhode Island. AP PHOTO/DAVID GOLDMAN

Lawsuits filed by preservation groups in Newport and on Block Island object to the federal government’s approval of two wind farms off the coast of Rhode Island

Appeals were filed Nov. 22 in the U.S. District Court by Washington D.C.-based law firm Cultural Heritage Partners PLLC on behalf of the Preservation Society of Newport County and the Southeast Lighthouse Foundation against the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

They claim the federal agencies did not follow regulations requiring consideration of whether the wind farms will ruin waterfront views – or “viewsheds” – from the lighthouse on Block Island and the historic mansions in Newport.

The lawsuits target South Fork Wind farm, which has already started delivering power, and Revolution Wind, which received its final federal approval on Dec. 7 and is expected to ramp up in 2024.

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Orsted North America, the developer leading the South Fork and Revolution Wind projects, has declined to comment.

Are legal complaints of altered waterfront views a valid reason to halt already approved offshore wind farms?

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